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Key aspects in securing the internet of things

“Billions and billions” used to be associated with Carl Sagan and his accentuation of how large the cosmos are. Today, it’s about the proliferation of connected “things” and is massively exciting! However, billions of devices also represents an incomprehensibly large number of vulnerability points.

With such a significant threat surface, security is sure to serve as a crucial enabler of IoT. It is vital that security is prioritized if the full extent of the IoT business opportunity is to be realized.

The industry needs to guarantee it can stop hackers and ensure devices coming into a network cannot compromise it. It needs to protect clients’ IT infrastructure and ensure firmware can be updated in a secure way.

This is very challenging, and the industry is still figuring it out. But there are some ways in which we can ensure the security of the devices and make people feel safer about living connected lives.

Be a master of all trades

There are a variety of different experts out there. However, the scope of the potential vulnerabilities within any IoT device is so vast that your team really needs people that can cover every bit of ground.

The good news is that there are also an incredible amount of technologies, all of which have different benefits and issues for different features and functions.

As a result, your security team really needs to be a jack of all trades, and master of all. If you’re a master of none, there are security holes everywhere. You need a group that has all the relevant specialties, and a product architect that can see the whole.

Build security into your top-level design

It is far too common for IoT manufacturers to think that security is something that can be addressed down the line. It is not. Security needs to be built into your product development process right from the beginning, at the design phase.

Furthermore, for each IoT system, it is vital to look at the particular things that need to be secured. This will vary on a device-by-device or client-by-client basis and entirely depends on what components are involved in each case. There is no one solution to IoT security. It is different for every device.

Security needs to be properly addressed from the very beginning of the development process, which in the long run saves time and aggravation. Some companies don’t take it seriously enough, and the repercussions of this are huge.

Educate consumers

Given that many manufacturers are not yet getting serious about security, consumers are at risk. Yet the evidence suggests most are not yet well-informed about the risks associated with their connected devices.

This is damaging to the industry. There is little financial necessity for such manufacturers to address these gaps. There are plenty of private and government initiatives afoot to tackle the awareness problem, but manufacturers that do take security seriously need to do more.

Those that have focused strongly on security need to ensure their customers are aware of it. They also must provide, alongside the product, detailed information on the importance of securing the devices and how they can play a part in doing so. We haven’t touched on privacy, but providing detailed privacy policies also helps. It can educate users on exactly how their data will be used, which is important as well.

By paying attention to the details, we can help improve products and devices that are being released today. Therefore, if we all focus better on security, we can bring awareness to the issues. Ultimately, that will result in a more secure world where we don’t sacrifice security for functionality.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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